Colin David Smith

Senior International/Defense Researcher
Washington Office


M.A. in national security affairs, Naval Postgraduate School; B.S. in engineering, U. S. Naval Academy


Colin Smith is a Senior International/Defense Researcher at RAND’s Washington, D.C. Office.  Prior to joining RAND he spent two years at the National Defense University as a Deputy Director of the CAPSTONE course for newly promoted Generals and Admirals.  A 28+ year veteran of the U. S. Marine Corps, he has extensive operational and overseas experience specializing in Russia and Eastern European defense policy, national security, and U.S. security cooperation. He twice served as an attaché, first as the Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché (SDO/DATT) in Riga, Latvia, and second in Moscow, Russia, where he has the distinction of being diplomatically expelled. He also served in Thailand for two years, combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was a UN observer in Georgia just prior to the Russian Invasion of 2008. Additionally, he has is a combat engineer operations expert having served as the senior engineer at every level within the Marine Corps over the course of his career.  

Smith has a BS in Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, a MA in National Security Affairs (Russia and Former Soviet Union) from the Naval Postgraduate School, and he has graduated from Amphibious Warfare School, Marine Corps Command and Staff College (Non-Resident), the Defense Language Institute, and Top-Level School where he was the Commandant of the Marine Corps Senior Fellow to the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).